I love Halloween. I do not, however, love the ridiculous amounts of candy we always seem to end up with on Halloween night. My son, on the other hand, thinks it’s fantastic. There is no way I would take that joy away from him. Therefore, I needed to find a healthy, fun way to go through this year’s stash before the Christmas candy begins to roll in.
I was thinking about this dilemma when suddenly it hit me: all of this candy can be used as an enormous collection of learning tools.
Now, being the fun-focused homeschool mama I am, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to sneak lessons into our everyday lives. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and while I’m sure others have had similar ideas, I am pretty proud of myself for coming up with it as well.
So how do I plan to use our Halloween stash in my kiddo’s schooling? Well, I have a few ideas.
My son loves to cook. He finds the entire process fascinating, and because of this, he has already started to grasp the concept of fractions. I do my best to allow him to cook and bake as much as possible. By using small candies such as M&Ms to make cookies, we will have yet another opportunity to discuss fractions, cutting recipes in half, and the chemistry behind baking.
As a family, we really enjoy playing with numbers. We often plan number games while riding in the car, and our kindergartener thinks it’s a blast. We’ll use some of our candy for just such number games. After all, subtraction is much more interesting when you get to eat the difference!
Patterns are another great concept that can be taken to the next level with candy. Simply provide a variety of candies, and let your young student create whatever patterns they wish. Encourage them to get elaborate with their patterns. If you’ve got the right kinds of candies, provide some string for making candy necklaces.
The Science of Color
Color mixing is a fun activity that kids of all ages enjoy. It’s even more fun when the colors come from leftover Halloween candy. Start with candy such as Skittles. Place the candies on a paper plate and drop water over them to make the colors run. Mix two colors to see what color they make. Try making a color wheel by putting the candies in a circle in rainbow order on the plate.
Sink or Float Experiment
Help your child learn about hypotheses by doing a simple sink or float experiment with some unwanted candies. Select your candies, have each child guess whether they think the candy will sink or float, and test their hypotheses. Discuss the reasons why the candy may be floating or sinking. See if the results change when you make adjustments such removing the wrapper from the candy or using a different liquid.
Hershey Bar Fractions
Hershey bars are great for learning fractions. I especially love the small, four-piece bars for my little guy, but the bigger bars would be great for older kids. Break the bar apart and use the piece to show various fractions. The visual is often helpful for kids who have trouble with the concept.
Nothing is quite so fun as launching candy across the room. Why not offer your kids some materials and let them go wild building devices to get their candy from point a to point b? Whether your students build a catapult or a slingshot, they are sure to have a blast, and will likely come away with stronger problem-solving skills and a better understanding of physics.
Sweet Bar Graphs
Every kid enjoys sorting Halloween candy. Why not record their work by creating a bar graph together? This is the perfect opportunity to teach your student how to make and read bar graphs. Because they will be sorting and mentally tallying anyway, it won’t even feel like work.
Candy also provides a great chance to practice measuring things. Try using a scale to balance the weight of two sets of candy. Use a ruler to measure all sides of a piece of candy. Sort like candy into piles then speculate which pile will weigh more. Weigh them to see if you’re correct.
Candy Wrapper Stories
As your children plow through their loot, make sure they save their wrappers. When they are finished eating candy, use the wrappers to create a story. Make up silly rules such as every other word must be a candy wrapper or only one non-wrapper word per sentence. This is a great way for young students to practice reading, writing, and spelling, and an excellent chance for slightly older students to work on parts of speech. It is also a great thought exercise that promotes creativity.
I hope these ideas inspire you to use that candy up while learning something new. Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many educational activities you could use your candy for. Try to come up with some fun experiments of your own. No matter which activities you end up doing, I’m sure you kids will appreciate the delicious lessons as well as the fun memories.
Do you have any fun, educational uses for Halloween candy?